I can’t put my finger on exactly why, but I just don’t like plastic. Maybe it feels too fake to me, too cheap. I am drawn to stainless steel, glass or wooden products instead. Plus, there’s so much hype about BPA within plastics. What is BPA really and why am I – along with many other moms and dads – so leery of it? Should we all be going BPA free?
What Is BPA?
I’ve discovered that Bisphenol A (BPA) is a synthetic compound discovered in the late 1800s and has been used since the 1950s as an epoxy resin and plastic hardener. BPA plastics are especially clear and hard. The compound is often found in plastics with the recycling symbol seven and can be labeled “PC” for polycarbonate.
Where Is It?
Look around you – really look. There is. so. much. plastic. And it’s hiding in places you don’t expect! BPA isn’t in every plastic but it surrounds us. BPA is in the underside of cars, within LED lights, is contained in inkless store receipts, lines canned food tins, is in some dental applications, lots of surgical equipment, and even in neonatal incubators. BPA is also in cell phone exteriors and electronic games as well as security glazing in windows and even concrete sealants. This stuff is in your washer and dryer, within paint primers, in Kevlar, aircraft windows and even on wind turbines. And that’s a short list. To conclude, BPA is EVERYWHERE and you can’t really go fully BPA free without going off-grid and living in the middle of the woods on your home made, wooden wind turbine. Some good news: most toys are BPA free!
Why the Worry?
Scientists have discovered that BPA mimics estrogen and is also (probably) an endocrine disruptor. It’s linked to breast cancer, thyroid issues and increases the risk of obesity. The very young are more affected by toxins such as these because adults can filter BPA and other harmful compounds in their liver better than little guys. Adults’ systems are just more mature and work better. Of course, there are plenty of other harmful chemicals, compounds, food and habits that also cause cancer, obesity and so forth. The primary method BPA gets into our bodies is through ingestion – not sitting in airplanes or under LED lights. So avoiding drinking from or serving off BPA plastics and avoiding canned foods can reduce your family’s risks. That’s how you go BPA free.
The American Chemistry Council funds Facts About BPA and states that BPA is totally safe in small doses, including those we ingest through plastics and cans. However, the US Food and Drug Administration banned the use of BPA in all sippy cups and bottles – but then changed its tune later. The US EPA is concerned about it has actions plans surrounding the compound. The Environmental Working Group says we should avoid it. With so many public statements and flip flops, it’s hard to know who is right. I just feel better about our stainless steel kid’s cups and plates, myself.